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RISE ABOVE

Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva has said that he feels confident that striker Luiz Suarez will be able to rise above the criticism that he will get from the Everton supporters when Liverpool take on their Merseyside rivals at Goodison Park on Saturday. This is one of the highly anticipated matches during the course of a season for Liverpool and Everton supporters. Everton have not been doing well in this fixture of late, as they have been unable to get a win since 2010. They will be hoping that the arrival of Roberto Martinez works to their favour this time around.

Unlike in recent seasons, Everton will be facing a Liverpool team that lies with a chance of winning the title. They are second in the table, which not many would have expected going into the season, after 13 matches of the campaign. However, Brendan Rodgers is still searching for his first win at Goodison Park. Due to the fact that Daniel Sturridge maybe absent from the squad due to injury, Luis Suarez is expected to be the number one striker for the team.

“Luis always get a hot reception from opposition fans and I’m sure Saturday will be no different. The reason for that is he’s such a threat against any team. He’s used to getting jeers and it won’t affect him at all. If anything it will just make him play better. It’s not the first time Luis has arrived back late before a game and I’m sure he’ll be fine. Us South Americans are used to these type of situations,” said Lucas.

He has lived up to the expectations so far by managing to score eight goals in the league. He has scored in the past few appearances at Goodison Park. Everton have lost just one match this season and they are proving to be a tough team to beat.

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KUYT BACKS LIVERPOOL

Liverpool has a tough schedule ahead of them as the team of Brendan Rodgers has to face off against Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea in the month of December. Liverpool are following Arsenal closely behind with only 5 points being the difference between 1st and 2nd place as they are enjoying one of their best starts of the season.

The problem however with Liverpool is that they have go against some of the best teams in England without their talismanic and legendary captain Steven Gerrard who had to leave the pitch during Liverpool’s match against West Ham and according to a scan that was made by the medical staff of the club, he might be sitting in the sidelines for up to 6 weeks until his recovery can be completed.

Daniel Sturridge is another player that Brendan Rodgers will not be able to choose for his upcoming important matches as the player is out until January after picking up an ankle injury while on the defensive side of the squad, Jose Enrique is still making a recovery from a knee surgery and is expected to be back to the team in February.

The next weeks will be of crucial importance for Liverpool if they want to continue their charge at the top spots of the Premier League and more importantly is to maintain the pressure on other clubs in hopes of securing the title.

Liverpool’s goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is positive that they can deal with the absence of Gerrard.

“Steven is obviously very important for us .He delivers the ball into the box with such quality. It wasn’t nice to see him going off the pitch like that’’.

“But we have a decent enough squad to deal with injuries and cope with these kind of things. I am sure someone else in the dressing room will be ready to step up. We have other leaders in the team as well and we must continue playing in the same way’’. Mignolet told the ECHO

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KUYT RULED OUT

Dirk Kuyt will not be able to feature for his country Holland in their upcoming couple of friendly fixtures which are against Japan and Colombia respectively. He has taken his name back from the national squad because of his hamstring problem which he picked up while making an appearance for his club Fenerbahce against Galatasaray.

Kuyt has so far featured for Holland in 98 games and if he had been fit for the upcoming two friendly matches, he would have become the 6th Dutch player to play 100 international matches, but, unfortunately, the 33 years old winger got injured and he needs to wait now to reach that milestone.

Kuyt had played his first match for the Holland national team way back in 2004 against Liechtenstein.

Meanwhile, Kuyt is not the only Holland player who has got injured and has withdrawn himself from the upcoming friendly fixtures. A couple of other vital players including the skipper Robin Van Persie have withdrawn too.

Van Persie injured his groin while featuring for his club Manchester United in their previous Premier League game against Arsenal. He had played brilliantly in that game and had scored a match winning goal, but, with just 5 minutes remaining in the match, he went off the ground and later on, it was revealed that he had suffered a groin problem because of which he would not be able to play for Holland in the friendly matches against Japan and Colombia.

The third player who has withdrawn from the Dutch squad is Jordy Clasie who plays for Feyenoord. He is suffering from foot injury.

The replacements for these 3 players have been announced by the Oranje boss Louis Van Gaal. Those replacements are Siem de Jong, Leroy Fer and Davy Propper.

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DUTCH FACE PORTUGAL

The Netherlands football team will take on Portugal in a friendly game on Wednesday at Estadio Algarve.

The last match played between these two teams was won by Portugal. That was a Euro Cup 2012 game and Netherlands had lost by 1-2 to be forced to return home pointless.

But, the Dutch team has shown a lot of improvement since that time under the guidance of Louis van Gaal. They haven’t lost an international game in the last 12 months or so. Their last defeat had come against Belgium in August last year.

Van Gaal deserves to be given credit for the consistency that the Dutch team has shown in the last few months. He has taken some bold decisions and has not hesitated in dropping senior players.

Recently, he has appointed Robin van Persie as the new skipper of the side saying that Wesley Sneijder doesn’t deserve a place in the squad at the moment because of his poor fitness.

As far as Portugal is concerned, their recent form hasn’t been poor either. They are on a winning streak of 4 games.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the man who will hold the key for the hosts. The Real Madrid superstar had found the net when these two sides had met last year.

Pepe is back to strengthen the defense of Portugal. The 30 years old centre back had missed the last couple of games as he was suspended.

Danny has also been called back after showing decent form for the Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg this season.

So, both the teams seem to have got good attacking players and it is set to be a cracker of a game. Portugal might have an edge as they are playing in their home conditions.

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SNEIJDER WILL STAY

Dutchman Wesley Sneijder has confirmed that he will remain at Galatasaray until January. The 29-year-old has been subjected to transfer rumours linking him with a move to Chelsea in the summer. Chelsea recently appointed José Mourinho as their manager for the second spell. Mourinho is a huge fan of Sneijder and he made him as one of the best midfielders in the world during his time at Inter Milan. The pair achieved a lot of success at the Italian club including the famous treble in 2010. It has been rumoured that Chelsea are interested in the possibility of a cut-price deal for the 29-year-old, who moved to Galatasaray only six months ago.

After falling out with Inter Milan, Galatasaray signed Sneijder with the hope of dominating European football. They achieved it to a certain extent after managing to make it into the knockout stages of the Champions League. Despite being highly ambitious, they are not convinced that they will be able to retain the services of the former Real Madrid and Inter Milan midfielder. However, they have received a huge boost from the player himself, who has ruled out a possible move by saying that he wants to stay at Galatasaray until January.

“I have a special relationship with Jose Mourinho and enjoyed working with him, but I can’t leave Galatasaray in the lurch or the fans that I admire. I want to play till January at least and help my team. I love Istanbul so much. I’ve met a new country and a new culture. It would not be easy to leave and turn my back (on Galatasaray). My club have expectations of me. The board worked so hard for my transfer. I can’t go anywhere because I owe them,” said Sneijder. Chelsea are linked with a £ 12.5 million move for the player.

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NO OPTION

The former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt has revealed that he had no option but to leave Liverpool after not getting regular game time under the former manager Kenny Dalglish. The Dutchman spent six years at Anfield before leaving for the Turkish club Fenerbahce in the summer for around £ 1 million. Even though he managed to win only one trophy during his time at Anfield, Kuyt was accepted by fans due to his tremendous work rate and ability to play anywhere across the pitch. He was primarily signed by the former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez as a striker.

However, his flexibility on the pitch meant that he was later converted into a right winger. After the club oversaw a number of managerial changes, Kuyt continued to maintain his position as a first-team regular at the club. The arrival of the Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish, though, signalled the end of this reign for the 32-year-old, as he found himself on the bench more often than not. Kuyt has revealed that the time spent at Liverpool has converted him into a Liverpool fan, but he could not stay at the club any longer due to the lack of football. He also did not think that the situation will improve under the new management of Brendan Rodgers, which led to the departure in the summer.

“I had six wonderful years but in the last year I was not playing as much as I wanted to play. I always respect the decision of the club and the managers but I didn’t want to see myself on the bench watching football. I will be a Liverpool supporter all my life – but after my career I can spend time sitting down watching games,” said Kuyt. The player has made 21 appearances and scored six goals for Fenerbahce.